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New Route of the Day – Asia Pacific (8 December 2023): Aircalin between Noumea and Melbourne


Aircalin, the flag carrier of the French overseas territory of New Caledonia, introduced flights between its Noumea base and Melbourne on Friday 8 December. It marks the airline’s return to the route after almost four years. The 2,685-kilometre service will be maintained 3-weekly on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, with the 168-seat A320neo aircraft. The carrier faces no competition between the two cities.

Flight SB110 departs Noumea at 08:00 local time, arriving in Melbourne at 12:20 local time. The return service, operating as flight SB111, takes off from the Victorian capital at 16:50 local time, touching back down on the Pacific island at 17:30 local time.

What they said

Lorie Argus, CEO of Melbourne Airport, said: “There is huge demand for flights to tropical holiday destinations and given Noumea’s relative proximity to Melbourne, we expect these services will prove very popular. With its idyllic scenery and unique blend of French and island cultures, New Caledonia has so much to offer, and Melbourne’s growing population means there is plenty of opportunity for growth.”

Melbourne exceeds pre-pandemic international capacity

Melbourne Airport has become the first Australian capital city airport to exceed pre-pandemic international capacity, some two years after Australia’s international boarders reopened. During December, there are over 1.3 million seats available on international services to and from Melbourne. That figure represents 101% of the 1.29 million seats that were available in 2019.

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December also marks the start of Air India’s service from Mumbai to Melbourne, Batik Air’s flights from Kuala Lumpur and a boost to Vietjet’s service from Ho Chi Minh City.

Melbourne Airport is now served by 36 international carriers, matching the number from 2019. Approximately 10% of existing international capacity is being operated by new airlines or on new routes.

Aircalin now serves three destinations in Australia

Aircalin now maintains operations to all three major cities on the Australian eastern seaboard, including Sydney and Brisbane. The carrier celebrated its 40th anniversary this November and has a fleet of five aircraft, including one A320neo, two A330-900s, and one DHC-6-300. In order to cater for the increase in demand during the holiday period, the carrier is wet-leasing an A319 from Amelia International until the end of the year, with the 144-seat jet to be deployed on Australian routes throughout December.

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